Dec 31, 2014

January Currently

Can you believe it is January?  That means it is time to link up once again with Farley at Oh’ Boy 4th grade for her fun Currently linky.  

Listeningto my boys.  Well this graphic pretty much sums it up

When I saw this I could not stop laughing, probably since it couldn’t be more accurate.  They may “fight” but at the end of the day they really love each other, and always have each other’s back.

LovingWe have the trailer all packed up and we are headed out to the beach first thing in the morning for 4 days of relaxation and fun!  The beach is my favorite place to be, I am sure I have told you before, and I can’t wait to get there.

Thinkingthere is just never enough time. Not enough time with my boys. Not enough time to visit with family and friends. Not enough time to get everything done on my to do list. you get the picture.

Wantingwarmer weather.  The lows have been in the high 20’s which I know for most of you is warm.  However, it is FREEZING for me.  I just can’t get warm, like at all.  Bring on the spring, right away thank you. I know, I know, wishful thinking.

NeedingI must go to my classroom for an entire day next week on Tuesday or Wednesday.  My kiddos come back on Thursday and I left in a major hurry when we went to break, so my room may be a little, or maybe a lot, of a disaster.  I will not be able to function until I get everything back totally organized.  I am goofy like that.

YesI am starting Whole 30 on January 5th and getting back to 5 days a week at the gym.  I know I will feel so much better once I get back in the routine.

Maybemy hall bath is in desperate need of a spruce up.  We had new tile done last year and now it is begging for new paint and all the finishing touches. 

I wishI really want to visit North Carolina.  I know it is not an exotic location.  However, my Aunt and cousins that I haven’t seen in years are there.  Not to mention it is the home to Nascar and my boys want to see all the race shops.  We hope to make it there this summer.

So be sure to check out all the other great posts over at Farleys.

 Have a fantastic New Year friends!

The Last Days Before Christmas Break

Here we are on the last day of 2014, where has the year gone?  I am a little behind on my bloggin’, I have just been enjoying the extra time with my family and loving every minute I get to spend with them.  My boys are growing up so fast and I know in the blink of an eye they will all be off to college.

I know everyone is on vaca and that Christmas is over, but I wanted to recap our last week of school before we left for break.  Mostly for myself so I can look back and see what we did when doing future planning, but hopefully you can find something that you can use next year too.

I usually link up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday to do my weekly rundown, however she is on hiatus and it is nowhere near Fridaylolso here goes.

Our classroom elf, Chippy, pulled out all the stops and brought us a special gift everyday for our last 3 days before vacation.  When we came in on Monday this is what we found

He had a note letting us know Santa had sent some magic seeds (tic tacs).  We needed to plant them in sugar and if we were very good they might grow into something special overnight.  And wouldn’t ya know they did.  The next morning our magic seeds had grown into candy canes.  The kiddos were so excited. Thank you Kristal at Kreative in Kinder for this fantatsic idea. 

First order of business, we had to finish up our parent Christmas gifts.  We made wreath ornaments.  I got this idea from this pin by Traci at Dragonflies in First.  I had to modify a bit since we were short on time.  I usually make snowmen handprint ornaments, but now that I have a K/TK combo class I had quite a few kiddos from last year and wanted the parents to be able to get a different gift.

It is easy enough to mix the ingredients, however some of my kiddos had a difficult time molding the mixture into the shape of the wreath with their tiny hands.  Thank goodness my fantastic aide was there to help.

At my table we were working on our gift bags.  Step one is to sponge paint red and green shapes on to white bags.  I just cut kitchen sponges into a square and a rectangle, put paint in some bowls and let them get creative.  

We do one side and then let it dry overnight.  The next day we paint the back side.  Again we let it dry.  Then the kiddos took a black sharpie and made bows on their bags so it looked like presents.  They always come out really cute and it is easy and cheap.

For our cards we painted Christmas Trees with our fingers. This pin was the inspiration. The kiddos love anything involving fingers and paint.  Once they were dry they wrote a special message to their parents.  Most said “I luv you, Merry Christmas!” 

Then we put it all together.  We wrapped our ornament in tissue paper and put it in our bag and folded over the top.  Then using a hole punch you make two holes in the top of the bag and one hole in the corner of the card. Take a piece of ribbon and thread it through the holes and tie into a bow.  They came out very pretty.

To finish up our unit on Gingerbread we had our 5th grade buddies join us to make Gingerbread Houses.  The kiddos all had a blast and did a really good job.  It does take prep work to make it run smoothly but it is something the kiddos never forget.

The week before, I sent out a letter asking for donations for our project.

You can get my letter here, it is in English and Spanish, in case you need one. 

Then I gathered any additional supplies that we still needed.  I also had my wonderful aide collect milk cartons from our cafeteria.  I washed them and let them dry overnight.  Then I stapled the cartons shut and hot glued them to small plates.  This makes it so much easier when we begin.  I also covered all of our tables with large black trash bags that I had cut open.  When the kiddos came in from lunch I had a plate/carton, baggie of graham crackers, and spatula (large Popsicle sticks) at each students space.  I had one can of frosting for every two students to share, already open with the lid on. I know a lot of people make their own frosting, but it is so much easier to just open the cans. Then there were bowls and cups with all the goodies.  Sorry I don’t have a before pic.  I fully intended on taking one but it was just so busy I totally forgot.

I am a little, ok maybe a lot, of a control freak so we do the first part step by step together.  They all did a great job.

Several of my kiddos have older siblings in our 5th grade buddies class.  It was so cute to see them all working together on this project.

Once they were complete I put them into large zip lock bags, you do have to turn them a little sideways to get them in, so they could easily take them home.  It was a terrific day!

Tuesday was Polar Express Day, which means Pajama Day.  I think I love wearing my jammies to school as much as the kiddos.  Again, Chippy, had a small bag with a note waiting for us.  It was a special gift from Santa, but we couldn’t open it until after our movie.  He had brought us our very own bells, just like in Polar Express.

We had to do actual work in the morningawebut it was still fun.  We read the story of the Polar Express in preparation for our movie.  Then we completed this sequencing activity from Sarah’s First Grade Snippets. You can download it for FREE

We also completed several activities from this great Polar Express pack from Coast to Coast Kinder.  

Then during lunch I taped the polar express tickets to the bottom of their chairs and put them in two isles like on a train.  When they came in and sat down I said ok before we begin I need your ticket to board the train.  They all said but we don’t have one.  I told them Chippy told me he put the tickets on their chairs that they had better look around.  They were so cute, once the first one found it they were all turning their chairs over and they were just giddy with excitement.  Yelling...”I have one”, “I found it”.  I totally needed my camera. These cute tickets came from a great freebie from Mrs. Jones Creation Station.

Then I punched their tickets, I am clearly not as talented as Tom Hanks, I only made three holes in a rowlol.  We were ready for our movie to begin.

During the movie we had popcorn and Hot Chocolate.  I usually make the hot chocolate in my crockpot.  Which works just fine, but let’s be honest I hate cleaning that thing out and trying to ladle it into the cups without spilling. I saw where someone, sorry I can’t remember who, used their Keurig.  HelloV8 moment there.  Why didn’t I think of that.  We have a Keurig in the staff lounge so I just took it to my room and told everyone, “if you want coffee this afternoon, just come to my room”.  It worked like a dream.  Everyone had their cup of hot coco and could add marshmallows if they wanted.   It was well worth the price of the Swiss Miss K cups.

After the movie we did a quick Venn diagram and talked about what was different and the same between the book and the movie.  Overall it was another successful and fun learning opportunity.

Our last day before break we came in to find Chippy with a gift once again. Santa sent us the recipe to his magic reindeer food.  We had a great time putting these together to help out Santa on Christmas Eve.  Sadly once again in the hustle and bustle of things I didn’t get any pics snapped. This great idea is from MariaManore at Kinder Craze.

Then we had a special visitor.  Yes, Santa came to school and brought each child a gift too.  Our school is high poverty and we qualified to get a gift for each child from Toys for Tots.  My kiddos were over the moon excited.  They each got to sit on Santa’s lap and get their very own gift.  Once again my fantastic aide came to the rescue and had wrapped all of ours for me.  I don’t know what I would do without herI am totally spoiled.  Here is our class pic with the Big Man!

To end our day we decorated Gingerbread people.  Our fantastic cook, which happens to have a child in my room, made us gingerbread boys and girls and brought us all of the frosting too.  We had left over decorations from our Gingerbread houses so it worked out perfectly.  They had a great time and it was the perfect activity to end our week.

So vacation began and I wasted no time having fun.  First up I met with my two besties for a girls lunch, always at the same place.  We have been friends since we were 14.  Yes, it has been a long time, just don’t try to do the math.  We get together at least 3 times a year for each of our birthdays, no matter what.  We usually manage to squeeze in a few more but that is the bare minimum.  It was so much fun to catch up.

Then Friday my middle son had his Winter Formal.  He is so handsome don’t you think, I am probably a little bias.

Our cousin has a limo that he let us borrow and my hubby was the driver for all the kids.  They had a blast.  The hubby and I got to have a nice date night dinner while we were waiting for the dance to end, so it was a win, win for us all!

Hope you have all been enjoying your vacation.  What fun things have you been up to?  I would love to read all about it, so leave me a comment.  Best wishes to you and your family this holiday season!

Just by the way, I do realize I have two different fonts back and forth. My computer is doing crazy things and I gave up on fixing it for I am not a tech wizard.  Any sugestions?

Dec 14, 2014

Five for Funday ~ Gingerbread Elves

I am posting my weekly recap of our classroom happenings a little late. Although, since Kacey at Doodle bugs is taking a break I guess I am not really At least there is no one to tattle on me that I am.  So here is my Five for Friday on Sunday Funday.

Did you like that title...are you wondering what in the world Gingerbread Elves are...I must confess we did not make gingerbread elves or anything of the sort. I was at a total loss for a catchy title, it just isn't my forte.  So, I guess I lured you here under false pretenses.  We learned all about Gingerbread and had fun with our Elf but that is as far as it goes. Without further adieu on to the happenings of our week.

This was our focus wall for the week. We packed a lot of learning in while making it fun.

It was a crazy busy week here not to mention the weather threw a wrench into some of our plans.  We don't have ever...but we have fog so bad you can't see one line on the road, no joke. Monday we ended up canceling buses and most of my kids ride the bus and have no other transportation, so I only had 9 kiddos for the day.  I didn't want to start all our new topics with only half my class so we did fun review activities for the day.  

Then we had another fog delay Tuesday, buses ran but 2 hours late so we were crunched for time. Then Thursday night and all day Friday we had crazy rain. Friday morning our bus actually got stuck in the mud, thankfully it had no kiddos aboard yet, so it was another late start day. We did our best to get everything done that I had planned. 

Here are our circle maps for the week.  The kiddos came up with so many great ch- words that it got a little squished and I ran into our fun of creating these anchor charts with the kiddos.


We continued our study of all things Gingerbread this week.  This was our Poem of the week. Poetry is one of the kiddos favorites things we do each week.  This is from a fantastic unit by Deedee Wills that you can find here.

These are the Gingerbread stories that we read this week.

I think the kiddos will tell you that the Senorita Gordita was their favorite.  Probably due to fact that they were all cracking up at me trying to use my best Spanish accent while reading this story and all the characters voices I made up.  It was great fun. If you don't have this story you need to get it... now.

After we read each story we came up with the setting, the characters, the problem and the solution and put them on post it notes.  I am the queen of post  Then we put them on this anchor chart. If you follow me on instagram you saw a sneak peak of this in progress earlier this week.  

Then we would choose two stories at a time from the chart and do a big Venn Diagram using the post its. The students were great at deciding what was the same and different with each story. They were surprised to see how many of the characters and the problems were the same in the stories.  Sorry to say I didn't get any pics of our diagrams it was just so busy and we were having such a great time I totally forgot.

Our Elf Chippy was up to plenty of mischief this week.  He still was hanging out at places "on high", however that didn't dimenish the fun we had.  The kiddos were so excited each day to come in and search for him.  Then I would always be surprised when they told me, "look there he is!" 

They loved that he was sitting "crisscross applesauce" on our Then Friday morning we came into the room to find this...

Chippy had made a mess in our room and then he left a note explaining what had happened.

The funniest part was I only knew that Chippy and his friends had knocked over our chairs.  However, the kiddos informed me that he also had books out of place in the library and that a few of the materials in our writing center were out of  I always try to put things back at the end of each day, but evidently I missed a few things, since I left in a hurry to get to an appointment the day before. Things all work out for a reason...haha!

Each day we write in our elf journal as well. Last week when Chippy arrived we completed the name page and his photo page but I had forgotten to take pics.  

Then each day the kiddos write about where Chippy was hiding.  If you like the letters and journal you can find them here by Kristal from Kreative in Kinder. It has been great to see what the kiddos write each day.  They are doing a fantastic job of sounding out all their words.  I couldn't be prouder.

We started on our first RAK (random acts of kindness) this week and the suggestion was from our elf Chippy.  One morning we found this note...

So we made cards for our maintenance, custodial and cafeteria staff. The kiddos really enjoyed making these cards and I think they will really put a smile on the faces of those who work so hard at our school.  If you like these card patterns they are a freebie you can find here from Starsha Malek.

They did a great job with their illustrations of Mr. M. taking out the trash and raking the leaves.

We finished off our week making these cute paper Gingerbread friends. Some made men and some made girls and a great time was had by all. I love how even though we had the same supplies each one is unique like each child who made it.

This next week we will be making Gingerbread houses and cookies. Should be lots of fun. How was your week?  I love to read your comments so leave me some love.  Have a great week!